New research has revealed that the effects of climate change increased the size and impact of Hurricane Florence.
The study also revealed that climate change led to the 2018 hurricane, which produced more extreme rainfall and caused extensive flooding in the Carolinas.
Previous studies have already noted the impact of climate change on precipitation levels in major storms. However, the latest research carried out by the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at New York’s Stony Brook University is the first to use a “forecast attribution” framework. This framework allows scientists to investigate the effect of climate change on individual storm events days in advance.
In the case of Florence, the Stony Brook team used climate change models to carry out simulations of the storm prior to its landfall. From the simulations they were able to predict that the influence of climate change would make the storm approximately 50 miles larger and cause rainfall levels in the Carolinas to spike by 50%.
“With our ability for additional ‘hindsight’ numerical modeling of the storm around climate change factors, we found predictions about increases in storm size and increased storm rainfall in certain areas to be accurate, even if the numbers and proportions are not exact,” said lead researcher Kevin Reed.
“More importantly, this post-storm modeling around climate change illustrates that the impact of climate change on storms is here now and is not something only projected for our future.”